SWEAT Fitness is honored to be an official presenter of the 23rd Philadelphia Film Festival beginning today and ending Sunday, October 26. Make sure to come see us at the Festival and use the hashtag #PFF23 to tag your posts and photos throughout the 11 day event. SWEAT is the sponsor of the entire Sight & Soundtrack category, featuring rockumentaries, musician biopics, and films that are centered on the unifying power of music – purchase your tickets here:
BEYOND THE LIGHTS
DIR: GINA PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD / COUNTRY: USA / LANG: ENGLISH YEAR: 2014 / LENGTH: 116 MIN / CAST: GUGU MBATHA RAW, NATE PARKER, MINNIE DRIVER, COLSON “MGK” BAKER, DANNY GLOVER / THURSDAY, OCT. 23 / 7:00 PM / RITZ EAST A: Feeling both familiar and original, Beyond the Lights is an inspirational romantic drama focused on a rising superstar within the music industry. Noni Jean (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, brilliant in Spring Showcase favorite Belle), is the hot new award-winning artist, primed for superstardom. However, all is not what it seems. Noni’s career has been shaped from childhood, constantly and forcefully driven forward by her strong and determined manager-mother (Minnie Driver). The pressures of the industry mount, pushing Noni to the edge of breakdown, until she meets Kaz Nicol (Nate Parker), a promising young cop and aspiring politician who is assigned to her security detail. Immediately drawn to each other, Noni and Kaz cannot resist seeking a deeper connection, despite the protests of their families and advisors. The latest from writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood (director of Love & Basketball, and The Secret Life of Bees), Beyond the Lights captures the seductive chemistry between Mbatha-Raw and Parker while telling the story of a forbidden romance complete with the believable ups and downs that go with a life as the world’s newest diva.
DEEP CITY: THE BIRTH OF THE MIAMI SOUND
DIR: DENNIS SCHOLL, MARLON JOHNSON, CHAD TINGLE COUNTRY: USA / LANG: ENGLISH / YEAR: 2014 / LENGTH: 57 MIN / FRIDAY, OCT. 24 / 12:30 PM / RITZ EAST B SATURDAY, OCT. 25 / 8:20 PM / RITZ EAST A: A rousing story exploring the birth of soul music in Miami, Deep City documents the musicians creating this unique sound and their contributions to the historical music scene. Alongside the rise of iconic record companies Motown in Detroit and Stax in Memphis, the 1960s and 1970s saw explosions in the popularity of soul music throughout the country, with Miami being home to one of the lesser-known, long forgotten, but just as impressive scenes. Until now. Deep City tells the story of Willie Clarke and Johnny Pearsall, two producers who met in college and later partnered to form Deep City Records. It was the first black- owned record label in Florida, and it operated out of Pearsall’s record store. Mixing toe-tapping music and archival footage with new interviews that document the songwriters, performers, and entrepreneurs of the Miami soul scene, Deep City is an enjoyable look at a little-known entry in the history of American music.
THE LAST FIVE YEARS
DIR: RICHARD LAGRAVENESE / COUNTRY: USA / LANG: ENGLISH YEAR: 2014 / LENGTH: 94 MIN / CAST: ANNA / KENDRICK, JEREMY JORDAN / MONDAY, OCT. 20 / 5:45 PM / RITZ EAST A WEDNESDAY, OCT. 22 / 7:35 PM / RITZ EAST B: Based on the beloved Off-Broadway hit musical of the same name, The Last Five Years tells the story of a couple’s five-year relationship through engaging, powerful, and heartbreaking songs.
Avoiding any spoken dialogue and instead telling the story exclusively through song, The Last Five Years provides an intimate look at the relationship between rising novelist Jamie Wellerstein (Jeremy Jordan) and struggling actress Cathy Hyatt (Anna Kendrick). As Jamie’s new novel catapults him toward stardom and recognition throughout the literary scene, success continues to elude Cathy, leaving her returning annually to do summer stock in Ohio. Told separately from each of their perspectives, Cathy’s side of the story is offered in reverse order, starting from what may be the end of their marriage, while Jamie’s version of events moves forward in time, beginning on the couple’s first night together. Shifting back and forth to detail their tumultuous relationship and buoyed by original music that moves between uplifting and melancholy, The Last Five Years is an enticing roller coaster of a film that will leave you singing yet teary by its foregone conclusion.
SOMEONE YOU LOVE
DIR: PERNILLE FISCHER CHRISTENSEN / ORIGINAL TITLE: EN DU ELSKER / COUNTRY: DENMARK, SWEDEN LANG: SWEDISH, ENGLISH, DANISH / YEAR: 2014 / LENGTH: 100 MIN CAST: MIKAEL PERSBRANDT, TRINE DYRHOLM, BIRGITTE HJORT SØRENSEN, SOFUS RØNNOV, EVE BEST, LOURDES FABERES / FRIDAY, OCT. 17 / 4:30 PM / RITZ EAST A THURSDAY, OCT. 23 / 2:05 PM / RITZ EAST B: In this moving family drama, a reclusive musician returns home to Denmark where his plans to record a new album are waylaid by the unexpected arrival of his 11-year-old grandson. Although his songs are frank and raw with emotion, the intimacy singer-songwriter Thomas Jacob displays onstage belies the guarded solitude he prefers in his troubled personal life. A Leonard Cohen-esque figure played with a fierce intensity by Mikael Persbrandt, Jacob has spent years isolating himself; first through the usual rock ‘n’ roll trappings of drinking and drugs, then with a decades-long self-imposed exile to Los Angeles. Now, sober and having returned to his homeland to record a new album with his dwindling inner circle, he must confront his past when his estranged, rehab-bound daughter leaves her son in Jacob’s care. Each damaged in his own way, Jacob and his grandson slowly begin to overcome their suspicions and doubts, gradually finding an uneasy peace that is disrupted by tragedy. Award-winning filmmaker Pernille Fischer Christensen displays remarkable empathy for her flawed characters in this gripping drama, which won the Audience Award at the recent Los Angeles Film Festival.
DIR: KATE BARKER-FROYLAND / COUNTRY: USA / LANG: ENGLISH YEAR: 2014 / LENGTH: 86 MIN / CAST: ANNE HATHAWAY, JOHNNY FLYNN, MARY STEENBURGEN, BEN ROSENFIELD / SUNDAY, OCT. 19 / 5:00 PM / RITZ EAST A THURSDAY, OCT. 23 / 4:50 PM / RITZ EAST A / ARCHIE FIRST FEATURE AWARD: In a desperate attempt to find something that will help her estranged brother recover from a coma, a beautiful young anthropologist navigates her way through the underground Brooklyn music scene, only to find unexpected love in this lyrical romance starring Anne Hathaway. After losing contact with her brother Henry for six months after his decision to drop out of college in favor of pursuing a musical career, Franny (Hathaway) finds herself adrift in Manhattan, racked by guilt after a freak accident leaves her brother in a coma. As a Ph.D. student studying in Morocco, she had avoided her prying mother (Mary Steenburgen) — and, in turn, Henry — to focus on her academic career, but upon returning home she seeks to understand her brother’s love of music. Finding his journal, she visits his favorite haunts in the city, eventually meeting and befriending his musical idol, James Forester. Together they record the sounds of Manhattan to play back to Henry, in hopes of aiding his recovery. Beautifully shot and pitch-perfectly directed by newcomer Kate Barker- Froyland, this story of grief and hope belies the size of New York City, rejoicing in the tender intimacy of personal connections.
DIR: SEAN GULLETTE / COUNTRY: MOROCCO / LANG: ARABIC, ENGLISH / YEAR: 2013 / LENGTH: 82 MIN / CAST: CHAIMAE BEN ACHA, SOUFIA ISSAMI, NADIA NIAZI, DRISS ROUKHE, MOURADE ZEGUENDI / FRIDAY, OCT. 24 / 4:30 PM / RITZ EAST B SUNDAY, OCT. 26 / 4:55 PM / ROXY A / ARCHIE FIRST FEATURE AWARD: In this vibrant debut from Sean Gullette, a young punk rock girl in Tangier gambles that she won’t get caught smuggling drugs to make the money she needs to save both her band and family. What would you be willing to do to make your dreams come true? That’s what Malika (Chaimae Ben Acha) has to ask herself in Traitors, which just happens to be the name of its fiery protagonist’s all-girl punk band. Feeling trapped and out of place in her home of Tangier, Malika is given the chance to get out when a music producer takes an interest in her band, but only if she can raise the money to pay for a recording studio, a near impossibility given that her family is on the verge of being evicted. So she agrees to take a job smuggling hashish across the border. Although Gullette is American, Traitors is entrenched in a new wave of youthful, inventive contemporary Moroccan filmmaking. Edgy and energetic but also smartly written and elegantly structured, it is a kind of thriller that travels lightly between action and contemplation, city and country, humor and drama, without losing sight of its beautifully feral heroine.
TU DORS NICOLE
DIR: STÉPHANE LAFLEUR / COUNTRY: CANADA / LANG: FRENCH YEAR: 2014 / LENGTH: 93 MIN / CAST: JULIANNE CÔTÉ, CATHERINE ST-LAURENT, MARC-ANDRE GRONDIN, FRANCIS LA HAYE, SIMON LAROUCHE, GODEFROY REDING / THURSDAY, OCT. 23 / 8:30 PM / ROXY A SATURDAY, OCT. 25 / 12:00 PM / RITZ EAST B: In this sweetly nuanced Canadian comedy, two young Québécois women (Nicole and Veronique) play out their restless summer days by planning vacations, scamming their bosses, and competing for guys in Nicole’s brother’s band. Feeling as though she has been set adrift in the world after her graduation, the young tomboy Nicole must find ways to occupy the dog days of summer. Sick of her meaningless job and with only her best friend, Veronique, to hang out with and alleviate the boredom, Nicole’s life is pretty dull. But when her brother unexpectedly comes home one day with his sexy new bandmates, suddenly everything changes. Flutters of relationships start, and slowly but surely a wedge is placed between these two once inseparable friends. Populated with dry yet whimsical humor, and an endearing performance by actress Julianne Côté, this sleeper hit from the Cannes Film Festival tells a musical and magical tale about the solitude of summer and the pains of growing up.